Tigers Fall to UAB, 78-66

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HONOLULU - Twin brothers, Donell and Ronell, combined for 39 points as Alabama-Birmingham defeated Clemson 78-66 in the first round of the Rainbow Classic on Tuesday night. The lost ended Clemson’s (7-2) five game winning streak.

UAB (6-2) trailed, 37-34, at the half, but started the second period on a 6-0 run. Clemson answered with a Cliff Hammonds three-point shot to cut the lead to 42-39 with 16:35 left. From there the Tigers could get no closer the rest of the game. The Blazers used full court pressure to ignite a 10-0 run and also a 9-0 run by forcing many Clemson turnovers that led to easy baskets.

“We just didn’t play very well in the second half,” said Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell. “The first half wasn’t a great half but we did enough to withstand their pressure and get the ball inside enough to forge a lead. The second half we just didn’t do that.”

Alabama-Birmingham forced 26 turnovers and converted them into 16 points. It was just the second game all year in which Clemson lost the points off turnovers statistic. Clemson outrebounded the Blazers 44 to 22.

Hammonds led the Tigers with 22 points, while Sharrod Ford added 16 points and 13 rebounds. Shawan Robinson struggled as he was 1-13 from the field and 0-7 from three-point territory.

Clemson will next face Indiana State in the consolation round Wednesday ay 6:30 PM EST.

Clemson vs. Indiana State Notes

*This will be Clemson's first meeting with Indiana State since the two teams played a home and home series in consecutive seasons in the early 1970s. Clemson won both meetings in overtime during the 1971 calendar year, 91-87 at Clemson on January 30, 1971 and 82-77 at Terre Haute on December 18, 1971.

*Clemson is 6-3 against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference. Wednesday's game with Indiana State will be just Clemson's 10th game against a team from that conference, but the third time it will play a Missouri Valley Conference team in the Rainbow Classic. Clemson defeated Bradley in the 1985 Rainbow Classic 81-76, one of just two losses for Bradley and All-American Hersey Hawkins that year. Clemson then lost to Evansville, 81-80 in the first round of the 1993 Rainbow Classic.

*Clemson's last meeting with a team from the Missouri Valley Conference took place in November of 1997, Rick Barnes last year as Clemson coach, when the Tigers defeated Southwest Missouri State in Fairbanks, Alaska, 71-67.

*Cliff Hammonds scored 22 points in Clemson's opening round loss to UAB. It was the most points scored in a game by a Clemson freshman since Tony Stockman had 22 at Duke on January 7, 2001. Hammonds set season highs for points scored , field goals made, and three-point goals made against UAB.

*UAB shot 51.9 percent from the field against Clemson, just the third time an opponent has shot over 50 percent from the field against the Tigers since Oliver Purnell became the Clemson head coach. The other teams to do it have been Maryland (.519) in College Park last year and Boston College (.537) earlier this season. Each of the last four and six of the first eight Clemson opponents had failed to shoot 40 percent against the Tigers prior to the UAB game.

*Sharrod Ford had 16 points and 13 rebounds in the opening game of the Outriggers Rainbow Classic against UAB. It was the 15th double-double of his career, his third this season. He is third among active ACC players in that category on a career basis, trailing only Duke's Shelden Williams and North Carolina's Sean May. The rebound total was a season high and his high mark since he had 16 against Georgia Tech on Feb. 28, 2004. The 13 rebounds tied for the third highest total in a single game of Ford's now 95-game career at Clemson. Ford has now played in 95 consecutive games for the Tigers.

*Ford was 8-12 from the field against UAB in the first round of the Rainbow Classic and is now 28 for his last 44 (.636) from the field over a four-game period. He has scored 70 points over his last four games, a 17.5 average.

*Ford had two blocked shots against UAB and moved into fifth place in Clemson history in that category on a career basis. He now has 128 for his career and now trails only Tree Rollins (450), Elden Campbell (334), Sharone Wright (286) and Dale Davis (210). All four of the players ahead of Ford in that category were first-round NBA draft choices.

*The UAB game was just the second game all year in which Clemson lost the points off turnovers statistic. South Carolina (14-11) was the only other opponent to win that stat prior to the UAB game.

*Clemson out-rebounded UAB by a 40-21 margin, the eighth time in nine games Clemson has won the rebound margin stat this year. It was the second consecutive game Clemson had a +19 rebound margin. But, it was the first time Clemson has lost a game this year when it had won the rebound margin.

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